Thursday, January 31, 2013

Making Choices

Justin's choice of shoes

Any parent's heart would break if they watched their child try to do something over and over again only to be met with defeat.  As I experienced this with Justin, I wanted to shield him from the frustration and hurt and soon fell into the trap that many parents of special needs children fall into.   I began to do things and make decisions for Justin in an effort to make things easier for him.  I look back and realize I began to focus too much on his disabilities and let that define him.

To turn this around, I began to work harder on letting him to do things for himself with just a "little" help from me.  It was more difficult, but how would he ever learn to do things if not given the opportunity.  After awhile, I noticed he was developing skills and starting to have fun.  The look on his little face when he finally accomplished something was priceless.  I was so proud of my little boy and his confidence skyrocketed. 

The next thing I tried to turn around was giving him more opportunities to make a choice.  When I think about allowing him to make his own choice, I think about a pair of ugly little shoes he picked out.  We had gone to the store to get another pair to fit over the braces that he wore on his legs.  Being the mother, I picked out a pair of simple, plain shoes and was ready to leave when Justin spotted some he wanted.  His little eyes lit up as he grabbed and hugged them tightly to his chest.  They had the white rubber toe with each side being a different color.  They were one of the ugliest pair of shoes I had ever seen, but he wanted them.  I took them from his grasp and looked at them closer and was shocked when I realized they were just his size.  Needless to say, I put the other shoes back and bought the ones he wanted.

One lesson I learned is that by allowing him to make more choices, I've gotten to know my son for what makes him who he is instead of just knowing him for his disabilities.  I realized we all have different likes and dislikes.  It's part of what makes us who we are and when allowed to make choices, we are free to be who we truly are and not what someone else wants us to be.  So a word of encouragement not only to the parents of special needs children, but to parents in general; love your children for who they are and for what makes them unique and allow them whenever possible to make their own choices.  It can make a world of difference and build a sense of confidence and self worth not only for them but for you as you watch them grow.

As always, Thanks for reading,
Angela :)


  1. I so agree with this! I let my son pick out some questionable wardrobe choices, and right now he has this crazy little faux hawk that I wouldn't be caught dead in...but it's his hair, his body, and as long as he's not offensive, I want him to make his own decisions, and feel good about himself. It's hard to let them do for themselves, we want to shield them....but it's a lesson all us mom's need to learn!

    1. Thanks for your insight. I agree with letting them make some of their own decisions as long as it's not offensive. It is a hard lesson to learn to let go after being so protective of them though. Again thanks for reading. :)

  2. This is a really lovely post. You sound like a great Mum and what you're doing (giving your son choices) makes such a lot of sense and will give him a feeling of power that I guess he ordinarily doesn't have.